Wednesday, December 24, 2008

made glorious summer

It's been a while since I've gone this long without a post. It's because whenever I come home for breaks I always switch into turbo-reading mode to catch up on all the books I wasn't able to read while I'm at school.

Friday night I finished reading my sixth novel by John Steinbeck. He's my favorite deceased author (Orson Scott Card being my favorite living). The Winter of Our Discontent is probably my third favorite Steinbeck Novel, after East of Eden and Cannery Row, though it has the coolest title of any of his books (taken from Shakespeare's Richard III, I believe).

This book reads differently from the other Steinbeck novels I've read; it has a much more modern feel. It's told through the main character Ethan Allen Hawley, heir to a squandered fortune. Instead of enjoying the status and fortune of his father and grandfather, Ethan is forced to work as a grocery store clerk to support his family. The story is an account of Ethan's stuggle to regain the position and dignity his family once enjoyed.

I really enjoy Steinbeck because his stories are so original and far from predictable. You feel less like you're going through the process of a story and more like you're experiencing what the characters experience. I wish I could explain the (dare I say?) majesty of writing; it's really something you have to experience for yourself. The best part is there is a Steinbeck novel for everyone. Looking for a sprawling, multi-generational family epic of grandiose proportions? Check out East of Eden. Don't feel like making that kind of investment? Try Cannery Row or Of Mice and Men. Average length novel with a far-from-average story and even better characters? I suggest Grapes of Wrath or The Winter of Our Discontent. You can't go wrong with any of these. It's just a matter of what kind of read you want. Let me know if you want to borrow one of these, I own them all.


  1. I really haven't read that much Steinbeck. I read The Pearl for a book report in middle school, and I read most of Of Mice and Men. I don't know if I ever finished it.
    East of Eden has been on my list of things to read for awhile. We read excerpts from it in high school.
    Maybe I'll check out Our Winter of Discontent, too.

    I read my first Orson Scott Card book this semester, Ender's Game. I really loved it.

  2. *The Winter of Our Discontent

    I never get book titles completely right.

  3. So I was browsing the book shelves of the Merrill residence about a week ago and I saw Grapes of Wrath. I'm reading it now.

  4. Amy, you should definitely read East of Eden. That's awesome you read Ender's Game. The book after that one, Speaker for the Dead, is another one of my all-time favorite books.

    I'm glad you guys read.